Monday, February 13, 2012
The NYPD is teaching its officers to use the Find My iPhone application to track down stolen Apple smartphones, according to an internal training memo obtained by The Post.
Cops have already used the free app and their personal iPhones to bust three thieves this year — the first reported use of the tactic took place Jan. 26 in Midtown — and NYPD brass aim to collar even more crooks with the technology.
“All over the city, cops have been trained. It’s something we’re hoping to see success in,” said a Brooklyn police source, who added that sergeants are showing officers and detectives how to use the Apple-produced app.
The NYPD sent the training memo to city precincts in early January in an effort to fight the soaring number of iPhone thefts citywide.
“If a complainant is reporting the theft of an Apple Corp. product, ascertain if they have access to Apple’s ‘cloud’ environment AND have previously activated ‘location services’ on said device,” the memo says.
The stolen phone must be turned on for Find My iPhone to work, and its user must have an Apple iCloud account. The app can’t work if the stolen iPhone’s GPS-linked Location Services are turned off.
Cops can use the app to have the stolen iPhone play an audible alert, lock the phone or permanently erase its data.
“Is it helping? Yes,” a Manhattan police source said. “It’s another tool to locate the phone and apprehend the perp.”
But cops are still literally being left to their own devices in employing this new crime-fighting technique. The NYPD is not providing iPhones, so far relying on the fact that enough officers already carry the ubiquitous smartphones.
In the first reported use of Find My iPhone by a New York cop, Officer Robert Garland employed his own device to track down a suspect in the theft of a 24-year-old woman’s phone from Tuci Italia, a clothing store on Sixth Avenue near 57th Street, on Jan. 26.
Garland busted George Bradshaw, 40, of Brownsville, Brooklyn, 10 blocks away, on 49th Street and Eighth Avenue, after using the app to make the pilfered phone ring. It allegedly was found in Bradshaw’s boot.